“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” —Plato
Tales of lost souls haunting the living populate various folklore worldwide. I have read about these angry ghosts that linger around the ones they once loved, and about spirits who follow a family wherever they go, whether they move to a new dwelling or to a foreign country.
The haunting started five years ago when my wife moved in with me. We’ve been fighting the entity since then.
It wasn’t progressive. There were no warning signs. I lived a peaceful life, an uneventful routine. I met a woman, someone I fell deeply for, someone who now shares my life. It’s when we became a unit, when we solidified our love, that our world was turned upside down.
We couldn’t see the ghost; we felt its presence and heard its heart. The sound of sorrow. The cadence of the entity’s heartbeat followed the rhythm of its distress. At times it was indistinguishable, ”lub dub, lub dub“. When distress turned into torment, the flow of its heartbeat accelerated, “thump thump,” and increased, “bom bom, Boom BAM!” The computer screens flickered and doors flew open. The entity’s pain attempted to pave a way into our home. We fought back, we forced it out, we slammed the doors shut. My wife and I took comfort in the fleeting sound of silence, and found solace and strength in our union.
Our ever-growing love angered the entity, and in numbers it found vigour.
When feeding on its own bitterness wasn’t enough, when the entity couldn’t remember where the rage stemmed from, it fed on the bitterness of wounded, like-minded souls. Its heartbeat became erratic. The sound of rancour. This entity was once a human being, perhaps even a loving one, but that placid woman—or man—was long gone, and it was out to get us, to hurt us. By any means necessary.
There were swift moments of peace, with little to no disturbances, but mostly, there were malevolent assaults. The years passed, and eventually, our family moved back to the city. In this new haven of ours, after a few weeks of calm, a cupboard door slammed shut, the temperature of the rooms dropped, and the entity could be heard again.
I can’t tell if it understands the anger it’s carrying around anymore, or if it is only angry by habit. The entity lingers among us, shouting to no end, hurting every single member of this family, including our young ones whom we try to shelter and protect by inventing lies to justify its actions.
We want to be kind, we want to understand the hard battles this entity might be fighting. We would like to see what darkness deformed the face.
We want to reclaim our lives. Our space. Our serenity.
We will not fight this lost soul, nor the remains of a past it’s still clutching to.
We will remove ourselves from the entity.
When it manifests its presence, we will shut ourselves from the ”bom bom, Boom BAM!” of its broken heart.
Goodbye, we hope you find peace one day.
[Computer screen and lights flicker. The sound of loneliness.]
* Featured image created specifically for this post by Sara Lomas.
** “Ghost” by Sterling Brown. Used with the expressed consent of the artist.
*** “Ghost” by Clément Juliard. Used with the expressed consent of the artist.